New Zealand Bound! (After Storm Chasing!)

Posted in General News, Traveling at 7:54 pm by Rebekah

My two year contract at the weather station on Kwajalein is coming to a close (already?! where did the time go?). While I had the opportunity to renew it, I decided for various reasons to pursue other opportunities. I have loved my time here and there are some people and some things I will miss, but further challenges and interesting weather are calling me.

I just accepted an offer to work as a meteorologist for MetService, New Zealand’s National Weather Service. I am beyond excited to say I will be moving to Wellington, New Zealand this August! The position sounds great, and I look forward to learning more about Southern Hemisphere and New Zealand weather and exploring this beautiful country.

The above photo is the famous Kwaj signpost by the airport, showing the direction and approximate distance in miles to various places around the world. Wellington has been added to the signpost sometime since I first got here, and now I smile whenever I notice it as I pass by–“only” about 2,400 miles further south!

The next few months will bring a lot of traveling for me, as I’ll also soon be flying back to Oklahoma to go storm chasing and visit friends for a few weeks across the Plains. I plan on updating this blog with my latest storm chase adventures this May; hopefully there will be a lot to write about and post photos of! I am going to be chasing with a tablet for the first time; every time I chase I seem to change something up. This year I will have an iPad, and between the built-in GPS, data connection, and various apps, I should be able to get the information I want without having a bulky laptop and cords everywhere. One of my chasing buddies, Dean (coming back from Australia with a couple of his friends) will have the full laptop setup though, so we’ll have double the data!

Anyway, I also plan on updating this (mainly) weather blog more often once I no longer have to dial up to use the Internet at home (really looking forward to high speed Internet again!). I may even start a separate New Zealand blog soon, too.


World Wide Weather #39: Kwajalein, Marshall Islands

Posted in Non-US Weather, Tropical Weather, Weather News at 8:00 am by Rebekah

This week’s post in the global weather and climate series features Kwajalein Island, part of the Kwajalein Atoll of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (click for a Yahoo! maps link).

You may know by now that I recently accepted a job offer to work as a forecaster on Kwaj, as the locals call it. I’ll write a lot more about the island later, of course (see my new Kwaj blog here), but I thought I’d do a feature post on Kwaj before I even get there.

The Kwaj Lodge, for short-term housing but typical of housing on the island. From Wikipedia

Map showing the location of Kwajalein Atoll, from Wikipedia

Kwajalein Island is a small island on the southern end of the Kwajalein Atoll. An atoll is a series of islands on a coral reef that surrounds a lagoon. Again, I’ll write more on all of this later.

Kwajalein Atoll is part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, although Kwajalein Island is a U.S. Army base so there really are no locals on this island. The Marshall Islands are way out in the Pacific, and Kwajalein is just north of the equator and just west of the International Date Line.

Kwajalein has a long history, but in short, the Marshall Islands are Micronesian and were taken over by the Japanese some time in the early 1900s. The U.S. fought over (and won) Kwajalein during World War II, and today the island is an army missile testing site (from what I understand the island is sort-of “rented” out to the U.S., although there is much more to it than that).

A few more facts about Kwajalein (weather data from the RTS Weather Station, where I’ll be working):

  • Time zone: UTC + 12
  • Elevation: near sea level
  • Climate zone: Tropical marine
  • Average high temperature: 87 °F (30 °C)
  • Average low temperature: 78 °F (25 °C)
  • Average annual high/low temperature range: 86 to 87 °F (30 to 31 °C) / 78 °F (25 to 26 °C)
  • Record high temperature: 97 °F (36 °C)
  • Record low temperature: 68 °F (20 °C)
  • Average annual rainfall: 80 inches (2,030 mm)

Weather: As you can tell by the statistics, Kwajalein does not have much of a temperature range; the island is typically warm and humid, and I hear there are two seasons: warm and wet, and warm and windy (trade winds).

I look forward to learning a lot more about the tropical weather of Kwajalein before and during my time there. I do know that the island is too close to the equator to get strong typhoons (tropical cyclones), although they may occasionally get sideswiped by weaker cyclones.

As to the weather this week…I’ll guess that highs will be around 86 °F and there may be a chance of thunderstorms! (Check the forecast…yep, that’s about right! Though I know there will be more to my job than just that… 🙂 )

For weather maps and information on current and forecast Kwajalein weather, see the RTS Weather Station, Weather Underground and Weather Online UK (global maps and models).

Here’s a Wikipedia link for Kwajalein Atoll, and here’s a Wikipedia link for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Next Tuesday I plan to take a look at the climate and weather in another part of the globe, hopefully just after witnessing a space shuttle launch! As always, if you have any suggestions for future cities, please leave a comment!

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Preparing To Embark On A New Adventure…

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:56 pm by Rebekah


I am very pleased to announce that I have accepted a job offer to work as a meteorologist on Kwajalein Island!

Kwajalein Island is an island in the Kwajalein Atoll, which is part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Marshall Islands are a large group of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the equator.

Kwajalein is a pretty small island, at only about 3 miles long and half a mile wide. There are about 1,200 people who live on the island, all working under the U.S. government.

My job will be a forecast position with a private weather company that has a contract there with the U.S. Army. I think the job sounds very interesting and exciting, and I could gain some great experience while on the tropical island.

I’m sure you must have a lot of questions, including how am I ever going to do without storm chasing. While I will miss storm chasing, I believe that I can give it up for now as the ocean is my first love and this is a wonderful and unique opportunity. I will be able to learn all about tropical weather firsthand, as well as tropical plant and animal life both on the islands and in the sea.

I will certainly attempt to keep up with this blog, continuing to post primarily on weather and storm events, but as I will not be storm chasing or living in the U.S. for the next couple of years, I expect my number of posts will decrease. I do thank you for coming to read this blog, and I hope that I can continue to deliver interesting weather posts.

I will be starting a new blog, though, and that is where I will likely put most of my blogging energy while I go through this island adventure. Sometimes there will be crossover posts, too.

Here is the link to my new blog: http://www.greenskychaser.com/kwajalein